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VIEWTutorials & Tips

10 Ways to Make Better Burgers

  1. Start with a good blend: Burgers need fat in order to taste good. We like to mix our base meat with pure pork fat to make an 80/20 blend. Another popular blend is achieved by mixing in bacon. You could also simply start with a nice, fatty (not sinew-y) piece of meat.
  2. Go beyond the beef: Sure, a good, All-American patty is beef. We're not saying don't make beef burgers. Just don't be afraid to make burgers from whatever's readily available. Venison, elk, and  black bear make for great burgers, but be sure to add some fat to offset the leanness of the meat. If you like seafood, salmon and crab make for tasty burgers as well. And even some of the most notorious meateaters we know have enjoyed meatless lentil, or quinoa & beet burgers.
  3. Grind it yourself: Naturally, our golden rule is to grind it yourself, whatever 'it' is. Fresher is better. It's also true that while we can give you endless tips on the 'best' burger, it's all going to depend on your own tastes and preferences. We like a nice, loosely packed burger that's half coarse grind and half medium grind. Many traditionalists would have you use the "hamburger" or ultra-fine plate. Grinding it yourself will of course allow you to get the texture that works best for you. You can also control exactly what goes into the blend (and what doesn't).
  4. Keep it cold right up until the grill: Deja vu. We feel like we say this a lot, but, hey it applies to burgers too. Keep that meat cold! Heat denatures proteins, making for a, well, gross meat texture. Heat melts fats into an unpleasant goo. If you grind your own meat, keep the metal components of the grinder in the freezer. Keep the meat in the fridge until just before you make patties. If incorporating your own fat, keep that in the freezer. 
  5. Keep your grubby paws off! This is just an extension of our heeding above. Your hands are warm, The more you handle the meat, the warmer it will get. The weirder it will get.
  6. Surprise: Use a Burger Press: In case you didn't know, we make Burger Presses. We elaborate upon why you need one in our article The Benefits of Using a Burger Press.
  7. Hold off on the salt: Hey, salt the heck out of them if that's how you like them. Rather: Don't salt burgers until you're pulling them off the grill. Remember our above rant about heat denaturing proteins? Salt does the same, making for an icky texture. Trust us.
  8. Stuff them: There's nothing like biting into a burger only to find it gushing with some amazing condiment, not only on top, but from inside. We mean, you like jelly donuts, right? Burger Presses make this a lot easier. We put a ball of meat on the press, press it thin, slather the middle with our filling, then cover that with more meat and press. What to stuff them with? How about Peanut Butter. Or cream cheese, cheddar and jalapenos?
  9. Smoke them: You smoke brisket and sausage and ribs. Why not burgers? Giving your patties a really rich, wood smoked flavor will undoubtedly add another layer of taste that put them above your basic burger. We've been known to smoke a burger or two.
  10. Add surprisingly good toppings: We know that most folks like cheese on their burgers.... and bacon. But have you ever tried peanut butter, a fried egg, kimchi, or roasted fruit? Don't be afraid to experiment and create your own. 

Now that you know how to make a better burger, pull out your grinder, fire up the grill, and get ready to roll. If you don't have a grinder yet, and need more information on the range of options available, visit our collection of Grinders.  And if you are looking for some more specific tips for burger presses, be sure to read The Benefits of Using a Burger Press

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